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Behaviorist Theory in Education

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Hugo Johnson

on 20 November 2013

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Transcript of Behaviorist Theory in Education

Operant Conditioning
Operant conditioning is a process of shaping behavior by rewarding or punishing a subject each time an action is performed.
A theory that human and animal behavior can be explained in terms of conditioning without appeal to thoughts or feelings, it relies on a stimulus followed by a response.
Classical Conditioning
Classical conditioning is a process in which a previously neutral stimulus comes to evoke a specific response by being repeatedly paired with another stimulus that evokes the same response.
Behaviorist Theory in Education
Behaviorist theory relies on 2 types of conditioning: classical conditioning and operant conditioning.
E. L. Thorndike
The theorists involved in behaviorism are: Ivan Pavlov, B. F. Skinner, and E. L. Thorndike.
Ivan Pavlov
Social Domain of Development
Emotional Domain of Development
Language Domain of Development
B. F. Skinner
Taetle, Laurie, & Cutietta, Robert (2002). Learning theories as roots of current musical practice and research. The new handbook of research on music teaching and learning, 279-298.

Becker, W. C. (1969). Reducing Behavior Problems: An Operant Conditioning Guide for Teachers.

Fontana, David, ed. Behaviourism and Learning Theory in Education. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1984.

Goodchild, Simon, and Lyn English, eds. Researching Mathematics Classrooms. Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2002.

Gray, Peter. ‘'Psychology'’, 6th ed. Worth, NY. 2010.

Phillip, DC. & Soltis, J.(2009). Perspectives on Learning. New York, NY: Teacher's College Press.

Bukatko, D. & Daehler, M.W. (2011). Children development: A thematic approach. cengage.com

Weiten Wayne. (2010). Psychology themes and variations, eight edition. California: Wadswort, Cengage Learning
Interview of Thorndike discussing operant conditioning and his work with pigeons:
Curriculum Domain: Music
Curriculum Domain: Math
"Learning theories specifically derived from behavioral and cognitive psychology have appeared as roots of music education research since the 1960's." (Taetle & Cutietta, 2002, p. 279)
Thorndike's laws
mostly classical conditioning
learning curve
Thorndike's Law of Effect:

"Responses that produce a satisfying effect in a particular situation become more likely to occur again in that situation, and responses that produce a discomforting effect become less likely to occur again in that situation." (Gray, 2010, p. 108)

Correct note = satisfying effect

Incorrect note = discomforting effect
Notes on paper = stimulus
Playing a specific note = response
Correct sound =
Satisfying effect
Incorrect sound = Discomforting effect
Response will tend to be repeated
Response will tend NOT to be repeated
The most traditional and widely used form of teaching mathematics is with the Behaviorist theory. This theory focuses on promoting good classroom discipline.

Behaviorism in math is the idea that humans learn from:

until it becomes automatic and students are rewarded for successful answers.
When the Behaviorist math teachers present the information to the students, they usually do so through lectures and demonstrations.

Math is teacher oriented.

Teacher is completely responsible for delivering the curriculum to the students.

After the information is given, the teacher then must assess the student’s understanding.
Homework that is assigned has to have a purpose to what the students are learning.

Positive reinforcement helps the students understand what behaviors are appropriate in the classroom and if the work they are doing is correct and accurate.

Once the students seem to understand the material then other assignments are usually given, and in some cases, new topics are discussed.
Guidance and Discipline
Operant Conditioning

System of positive reinforcement based on rewarding good behavior, and withdrawing rewards or even having negative consequences for bad behavior.

Thorndike's Law of Exercise:

"The more the behavior is practiced or exercised, the more strongly it will be established or learned"
(Phillips & Soltis, 2011, p. 25).

Practicing music strengthens the link between stimulus-response, thus improving the neural pathway that creates this action. Notes will be played "automatically" when prompted by the stimulus (notes on paper).
* Correct note playing can be it's own reward, but it can be further reinforced using an additional reward...
like dark chocolate or Ben & Jerry's Phish Food.
Behaviorist theorists believe that social development is acquired through the imitation of observable behaviors.

In this case classical and operant conditioning can occur when one person observes another’s conditioning.

Children and adults acquire many favorable and unfavorable responses by simply watching and listening to others around them.

Teaching children to raise their hand before speaking.

"We learn certain behaviors and emotions as a result of classical conditioning." (Bukatko and Daehler, 2011)

Example of child feeling anxious.....

Baby smiling and feeling happy as the caregiver walks to cradle.
"Classical conditioning plays a key role in shaping emotional responses such as fear"
-many fears can be traced back to experiences in childhood.
For example..........
Oral language is learned from human role model process involving imitation, rewards, and practice.

Human role models provide the stimuli and rewards.

B.F. Skinner believed that language is behavior.

“Reinforcement of successive approximations”

Overview of Behaviorism in the classroom.
Classical conditioning experiment.
Behaviorism: a theory of language development
Further Information
Live Experiment!
We will conduct an experiment in class to demonstrate how conditioning can be used to shape the behavior of an unsuspecting victim (yes/no).
Yet another classical conditioning experiment.
According to Becker (1969), behavior can be changed by three methods:
1. Reward
2. Strengthen
3. Punish
Full transcript